Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd has said images of masked loyalists parading through streets in Portadown today is more akin to the scenes witnessed recently in Pitt Park in East Belfast rather than a ‘band parade’ as claimed.
John O’Dowd said:
“Tonight’s so-called band parade in Portadown was led by masked men through the streets reminiscent of the scenes recently in Pitt Park in East Belfast when a loyalist mob went on a rampage to intimidate families out of their homes.
“Irresponsible and dangerous sabre rattling and reckless rhetoric from Unionist politicians has seen tensions rise right across the community.
“Their engagement with armed criminal gangs involved in murder, drug dealing, extortion and intimidation has emboldened these criminals to attack and injure members of the police and put the wider community at risk.
“I would appeal for calm and I call on those in positions of influence in political unionism to demonstrate more measured and responsible leadership before someone is killed or seriously injured by loyalist criminal gangs.”